Hula hooping: the no-exercise exercise

This childhood favourite is making a grown-up comeback as a total body workout with a real fun factor, says Laura Day

Cast your mind back to playtime at school. Remember the hula hoops, arguably the most frustrating bit of playground equipment there was? Tantalisingly appealing in all their bright and stripy glory, actually using one was a complete nightmare. In fact, the time I spent with a hula hoop as an optimistic 10-year-old only ever ended in frustration and bruised ankles. So when some 18 years later I signed up for my first hula hooping fitness class, I was sure I’d be the laughing stock.

It’s a girl thing

There’s a reason for that, according to Anna Byrne, international hoop performer, fitness instructor and founder of HulaFit, a new and growing network of hula hooping exercise classes. ‘We women, in particular, think we’re going to fail – it’s a predisposition!’ says Anna. ‘But change your mentality and do what you can. You may look funny a few times, but the more you learn to save the hoop with your body, the quicker you’ll master the technique.’